The VALIDATE Mentoring Scheme

**Our 2024 call is now closed**


As part of VALIDATE’s aim to encourage Continuing Professional Development and career progression amongst its members, we have an annual mentoring scheme.

Mentoring relationship

In each mentoring call we aim to place around 10 up-and-coming post-docs/early PIs with Senior Scientist mentors from the Network. Requesting a mentor is open to scientists from all regions but we particularly welcome applications from LMIC scientists.

To be eligible to apply, you must be a VALIDATE Associate or Investigator (VALIDATE membership is free; to join visit our joining VALIDATE webpage).

Each mentoring relationship will run for 12 months. All mentees will be expected to provide a short report at the end of their one year mentoring relationship, for inclusion in Network outcomes and publicity.

For information about mentoring, how having a mentor can help your career, and how the VALIDATE mentoring scheme works please see the further details below.

To apply please submit your application form (see below) and associated documents as a single pdf by 4pm (UK time) on the closing date to our Network Management Team at Do address any queries about your application to the VALIDATE Team, at the same address. Applications are reviewed by the VALIDATE Management Team. Members will be sent the outcome of their application around a month after the closing date.


What our mentees say about their experience:

“I have found the whole experience hugely beneficial and would highly recommend to others to seek a mentor at every stage in their career…I only wish I had sought a mentor sooner”  ECR, UK

"As an early career researcher, having a mentor was of great value to expand my viewpoints and consider new ways of approaching my research... He is guiding me through the development of my post doc, not only by giving me training in techniques such as LCMD, but also providing new inputs to our project... Having the opportunity to be in touch with a researcher in my area, but from a different country and culture, gave me a completely new perspective and broadened my horizons... we are currently working on a publication" ECR, South Africa

"I think the mentoring system is a great opportunity to make a connection with and learn from the expert in the field which can help build up an idea for a new project. " ECR, Thailand

"The mentoring programme has been helpful in clarifying priorities and gettting input from a senior leader in the field.' ECR, UK

"[mentor] helped me to identify some of the things I need to do to help push my career forward. Since then, I started pushing for opportunities that can help boost my profile, and extend my network. She supported me with a number of grant applications where references are required... the fact I got the support when needed is really appreciated... She provided me with tips on how to work on my publications, and one good thing she does very well is send me opportunities to apply for." ECR, Nigeria

"I believe that the mentoring meeting helped give me the confidence to apply for and be successful in achieving a more senior post of senior lecturer at [institute] as well as to establish a number of new collaborative relationships with staff there. This led to the submission of a Newton Institutional Links application, on which I was lead applicant" ECR, UK

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A mentor is a more senior and experienced person in your career field who agrees to guide and support you in your career progression, using their experience and knowledge from their own career. 

They are not a coach or a counsellor, and they will not tell you what to do or how to do things - they will also not be your personal advocate. You will need to do the work, but they'll be there to encourage and guide you, to help you clarify your goals, and to be an information resource for you about how you might get to where you want to be.

The path to becoming a PI is challenging - and not always obvious! A mentor can help you:

  • Explore and plan the best route and your goals
  • Strengthen your CV to be more likely to win grant applications and new positions
  • Overcome obstacles
  • Network
  • Learn from your mentor's experience

A mentor provides an independent perspective, and challenges, supports and guides you to be the best you can be.

Watch a great video from The Academy of Medical Sciences about the benefits of a mentor to your career here.

VALIDATE's mentoring scheme is open once a year, for Associate and (early PI) Investigator members (PhD students should be able to find mentors through their University's Career Service department). 

To apply for a mentor, complete the forms below, and submit them to our Network Manager before the closing date. 

On the application form you will pick 2-3 VALIDATE Investigators that you would like to be your mentor. Your application will be considered by the VALIDATE Management Team, who will try to match you to one of your preferred mentors; due to high demand we cannot guarantee one of these will be assigned as your mentor, but we will do our best to match your preference as well as research area, skills and experience, and career aspirations. For a list of eligible VALIDATE Investigator Mentors and their research interests, visit our Members page (and filter to just see 'Investigators' using the drop-down option).

For a useful video about how to pick a mentor, click here.

You will be notified about your offered mentor within two weeks of the Management Team decision. If you decide to join the scheme, you and your mentor will meet at least four times during your 12 month mentoring relationship. Your mentor will be from a different organisation, and possibly even a different country, so meetings may be face-to-face, or via telephone or Skype/Zoom/Teams.

During your first meeting, you and your mentor will agree your expectations about how often you will meet, confidentiality, and how your relationship will work. You may like to use some of our resources listed below to help you, such as the guidance document for mentees, and the mentoring contract, although this is not compulsory.

Take time to think about what you would like to gain from your mentoring relationship, and be realistic in your expectations - our guidance document can help you with what your mentor can and cannot do.

At the end of the year, the mentoring relationship will end, and you will complete our feedback form so that we can continue to improve our scheme.



- guidance on the mentoring relationship and how to maximise yours


- you can use this in your first meeting, either to create a formal contract you're both happy with, or as an informal discussion tool to ensure you cover these topics and both agree your expectations for the relationship.